Havre de Grace Wins Woodward, Aims for Beldame
Horseracing enthusiasts no doubt remember the 2009 Woodward Stakes at Saratoga, where Rachel Alexandra thundered over the finish line becoming the first filly to take the number one spot for this event. Girl-power ruled as the filly entered the winners circle, with female supporters, young and old, sporting Rachel Alexandra pins. The $750,000 Woodward Stakes event on the Labor Day Weekend turned into a battle of the sexes once more, with filly Havre de Grace crossing the finish line in first place – ending off the Saratoga horse racing season in grand style.
One of the differences between the two victorious fillies is that Rachel Alexandra had already proven herself by beating colts in both the Preakness and Haskell stakes, and had gathered quite a following who were rooting for her, expecting her to put on an impressive display. On the other hand, Havre de Grace was a relatively unknown entity, although she had won four of her five starts this season. While her supporters were obviously keen for her to win, they were not necessarily expecting it, as she joined the competing colts at the starting gates. But, despite the tough contenders she was up against, Havre de Grace moved into the lead and crossed the finish line first, becoming the second filly to claim a victory in the 58-years that the Woodward Stakes has been running. In response to the question of Havre de Grace being nominated for Horse of the Year, the filly’s trainer Larry Jones expressed his confidence that she would be in the running for it.
Putting an end to speculation about which race Havre de Grace will next compete in, owner Rick Porter announced that she would be running in the Beldame Stakes at Belmont Park on October 1 – a 1 1/8-mile race for both fillies and mares. There is every possibility that her main rival, the filly Blind Luck, will also be competing in the Beldame Stakes. Their last meeting at the Delaware Handicap in July, saw Blind Luck winning by a nose, with Havre de Grace in second place. Havre de Grace’s growing band of supporters will no doubt be cheering her on to victory, with the next goal being the Breeders Cup at Churchill Downs in November.